Notice: Limited Support up to March 7
Monday, February 27, 2006
Circumstances require that support will be very limited for the next week; we apologize for the inconvenience. Please use email to send support requests; they will be dealt with as soon as practicable. Here are a few helpful hints for the most common support requests.I did not get the confirmation email.
Some servers are so busy that emails can take up to several hours to get through. You can send your confirmation code again by using the lost password feature at http://www.feedblitz.com/f?MailPwd
or by logging in and enabling the paused feeds from the dashboard.I need to unsubscribe.
Click the "remove" link in the email sent to you, or log in to FeedBlitz and go to http://www.feedblitz.com/f?FeedsMy emails didn't arrive.
You need to figure out and address the following typical causes:
- Your feed is down.
- Your feed is password protected but FeedBlitz doesn't have the password information.
- Your post isn't in the feed.
- Your post doesn't have a date. FeedBlitz will attempt to determine the date usnig other techniques, but sometimes gets it wrong. Add the date to the posts and it will work.
- Your post is in the feed but doesn't have a properly formatted date. Visit the RSS 2 specs here.
- The date is formatted OK but is for a date that isn't "yesterday" (if you manually adjust dates this is almost certainly the problem. Don't do that).
- The date in your post is OK but the date in the feed's header is incorrect (FeedBlitz checks the main feed date first; if it isn't "yesterday" it does not check individual post dates).
If it isn't any of these then please write to support.Where do I generate the subscription form for my feed?
Go to http://www.feedblitz.com/f?Lists
and click the grey icon with the angle brackets (it's at the far right).How do Import subscribers?
Bloglet is free to all. Otherwise premium feeds can import subscribers. Sign up for a premium servicie for the feed(s) you want to import into, go to http://www.feedblitz.com/f?Lists
and click the subscribers icon (heads in silhouette) for the feed. An import option appears on the next screen.Image verification doesn't work.
Yes, it does. Honestly! Please type carefully
. You must have cookies enabled and you must complete the test in about a minute. If you are blind or still have problems write to support - we will enable you as quickly as we can, and by Tuesday the 7th at the latest.The custom editor doesn't work.
If you are using Safari, that's true. Please use IE or Firefox on the Mac.
Halt! Who Goes There?
Monday, February 13, 2006
Or, perhaps, "What
goes there?" Human or machine?
Over in "When Spambots Attack
" I described how the number of false email addresses has been causing real headaches for FeedBlitz the last few days. The previous technique we were using, filtering, simply didn't scale well enough and quickly enough to prevent boatloads of junk being added to lists by the scripts. It was getting to be very annoying to say the least. Another way needed to be found to separate people from machines.
So, scratch filters, enter image verification. You've seen this before - you have to enter a sequence of letters or numbers as part of the registration or subscription process. The idea is that the human eye can pick out the text fairly easy - millions of years of evolution have seen to that - but computers aren't that good at it (yet). So a spambot won't succeed in filling the FeedBlitz database with meaningless addresses because it won't be able to read the text. Some images are easier to read than others, but simply refreshing the screen creates a new test image for you to try if you can't quite see the current one clearly. The visually impaired and those using text-based browsers can contact support
at the support address to complete their registrations.
With immediate effect, image verification has been implemented for subscriber sign ups and new registrations. It adds an element of inconvenience and difficulty to the process, which I don't like, but it makes the service more robust and more secure, which I do. This has to be done to maintain FeedBlitz's service quality. Score this one to the "necessary evil" column, unfortunately. Any issues, please drop a line to support.
When Spambots attack...
Since the middle of last week FeedBlitz has seen a significant uptick in spambot related activity. These bots are automated scripts that trawl websites submitting bogus email addresses. As a temporary measure, FeedBlitz has been tuned to become much more aggressive in dealing with apparent abuse, which may from time to time cause a real account to be accidentally flagged. If you think this is the case with your account simply call into support and it will be taken care of. A more powerful long-term approach is in the works and ought to be in place prior to this evening's run.
Add FeedBlitz to your Windows Internet Explorer Popup Menu
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Here's a simple widget for Microsoft Internet Exporer (IE) users. IE users can now add a FeedBlitz option to the browser's right-click popup (or context) menu. Clicking the menu item tells FeedBlitz to track that page's RSS feed, or - if there isn't a discoverable feed on the page - that page itself.
To download the add-in, click this link - feedblitz.reg
- and run it. If your anti-virus or anti-spyware program warns you about the code and registry edits, approve the change - only a menu option is being added.
Once done, open up a new version of IE and right click your favorite site. You should see a new entry in the menu, part way down, titled "Track with FeedBlitz" as in the example below. Click it to add the page's RSS or HTML address to your account.
FeedBlitz Releases Custom FeedBurner FeedFlare Add-Ins
announced the publication of their FeedFlare API
(application programming interface).
As FeedBurner's email service partner, FeedBlitz
is proud to be releasing its first FeedFlare extensions based on the API for any
FeedBurner feed, whether or not the publisher is using the FeedBlitz / FeedBurner email integration
FeedBurner publishers can add the following to their feeds and their blogs:
If you use these, don't forget to check the boxes to enable them! The changes take effect when you save the FeedFlare settings. They will, of course, appear in FeedBlitz emails as well as almost every other RSS aggregator.
Add FeedBlitz to your Google Toolbar
Grab the latest Google toolbar and add the FeedBlitz button to it
so you can easily create an email subscription from FeedBlitz for any web site, regardless of whether they are FeedBlitz publishers or not. You can even pre-fill your email address by editing the button's settings. The button takes full advantage of FeedBlitz's autodiscovery features.
January 2006 Summary
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Time for the monthly "State of the FeedBlitz" post. As ever, let's do the numbers first.
The circulation count after January 31st was 220,753
- up 66,132
during the month. That's only a little under the absolute growth in December and represents 43%
month on month growth.
Even with the change to tighten up individual feed circulation metrics
, over 6,000
readers now track this blog daily, up from 4,600 at the end of December, and double November's month-end count. According to Google Analytics, January's busiest day saw 3,987 individuals visit the site, compared to 2,700 visitors for December's most active day. Overall, feedblitz.com
had 100,000 visitors in January, with 401,000 page views, up 56% and 45% respectively compared to December 2005.
According to Alexa, FeedBlitz's best rank was around the 10,000 mark in December, typically ending up between 20,000 and 15,000. FeedBlitz's current average is 6,489, and the site was in the top 5,000 web sites for four days last month. All in all, the metrics are very positive and emphasizing our position as the undisputed #1 RSS to email service
From a publisher perspective, 26 feeds now have more than 1,000 FeedBlitz email subscribers, and another 20 more than 500. The "Pro" premium service
is the most popular upgrade by far, with many professional providers using it to deliver affordable and manageable newsletters, customized to their own look and feel, delivered using their own "from" addresses and custom subject lines. Over 500 publishers use FeedBlitz to distribute podcast update notifications.
Which brings me to the service improvements made in January. Here's the highlight reel:
On the downside, there were a couple of days in January where delivery was very late. That's a couple of days too many, and changes were put in place to address it. Yet despite the growth in circulation and publisher volumes and the extra time it takes to deliver these additional capabilities, the nightly run still takes about four hours to complete, on the exact same (relatively modest) hardware FeedBlitz started out on. Technically, it's scaling very well.
So what of February? A new twist on tailored content delivery for subscribers for one, more OPML, and further insight into your metrics. A short month, yes, but it's going to be fun with a lot going on. We're off to an excellent start: the chicklet
has already proved itself very popular, and there's more where that came from. Stay tuned...
FeedAdvisor Chicklet Mashup
After the introduction of the new subscriber count chicklet
has been updated to incorporate the chicklets in its search results. It was annoying not to be able to subscribe from the search results page, and this fixes that problem. Additionally, the results now have the feed descriptions included, and the results have been deduplicated so that when you search for, say, micropersuasion
, exactly one result comes back instead of four.
Enough chatter. Here's a screenshot (this searches the Subscription Web for "marketing") - and try a FeedAdvisor search
yourself to see it in action.
FeedBlitz feedcount chicklet
Friday, February 03, 2006
And with more than a small nod to FeedBurner (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right guys?), introducing the first ever official FeedBlitz chicklet. It shows the number of email readers, and also acts as a signup link for your content. The count is updated nightly, and yes, it's any color you like as long as it's FeedBlitz orange. A good place for this chicklet is in your blog or email signature. It shows the number of confirmed, opted in email subscribers.
You can get the code from the HTML signup form page for your feed - go to www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Lists and click the HTML generation icon
FeedBlitz Simplifies Multi-Feed Email Customization with Master Templates
Thursday, February 02, 2006
If you're a business or entrepreneur running many RSS feeds, you want to ensure that the correct branding (yours, of course) is on each mail that goes out - this is what the FeedBlitz Pro upgrade delivers as discussed in "Don't like FeedBlitz Orange...?"
Thing is, adding graphic design templates for lots of feeds, especially ones added automatically or in bulk using the API or OPML
, is a manual effort. Once a feed has been added, publishers have to go into each new syndication to customize it by hand. It could be a chore for lots of feeds, especially having to remember to do it for imported content.
No more. Enter Master Templates
, available for "Pro Plus" users (i.e. relevant to publishers with more than five feeds to customize and the $24.95 monthly subscription fee). "Pro Plus" publishers can designate a design template as the Master (one per Pro Plus account). The benefits are:
- The Master Template is automatically used for all feeds which don't have their own template (existing ones and those added or imported later).
- Changes to the Master Template automatically effect the other content using it - no more copy / paste.
- Master Templates can be overridden on a feed by feed basis to allow for differentiated branding across multiple properties if necessary.
- Updates built using Master Templates are consolidated into a single consolidated email by default - this may also be overridden.
In short, once a Master Template has been defined, any new feed added - a new book chapter, say, or a new online store, or a new news channel or product line - will automatically go out with your designated branding, including "from address" customizations and your specified subject lines
We've been testing Master Templates with a group of medical practitioners in Kentucky. The core blog, "Evidence in Motion" - visit
- has been upgraded to a "Pro Plus" Master Template. You can see the Master Template in action by subscribing to one of the over one hundred feeds they publicize, all customized by this one Master Template. Here are a few of their higher traffic feeds:
If you subscribe to all three for a little while you'll see that they all have the same look and feel, and are chained together into a digest if there are updates in more than one. Incidentally, these feeds were added to FeedBlitz using the OPML import facility, saving another chunk of setup time.
As a result, Master Templates dramatically lower the time to deliver new content (as new email updates) to your readers that reinforce your messages.
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